Seva (Service) to humanity is one of the 5 objectives of Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam (SASS). Accordingly, SASS provides various services free to Sabarimala pilgrims during the annual pilgrimage season mid-November to mid-January. These services are provided at nodes on vantage points along the pilgrimage route, called Ayyappa Seva Kendras (ASK).
Services provided at ASKs are typically:
- Annadanam (free vegetarian food; breakfast, tea, coffee, milk, lunch, dinner, medicated water, herbal coffee)
- Dormitory facility for night halt in a clean ambience
- Toilets and bath rooms with running water
- Emergency medical care / first aid
- Emergency vehicle repair
In 2019 pilgrimage season, SASS ran about 250 ASKs in the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In 2020, due to Covid-19 pandemic, SASS and like-minded Hindu organisations declared the year to be a Zero Pilgrimage Year. Therefore ASKs were not operated.
SASS envisages upscaling existing ASKs in and around Sabarimala Temple precincts (Sannidhanam and Poonkavanam) by installing commercial scale kitchens and such other permanent infrastructure. Also, it is proposed to establish permanent ASKs at border points of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu from where pilgrims enter Kerala.
Here is an overview of the proposed capital projects:
AYYAPPA SEVA KENDRAM (ASK) AT SABARIMALA PRECINCTS
- Erumely ASK cum Office Complex
Erumely is the starting point for the trek to Sabarimala Temple. SASS bought a 6 cents (2,614 SqFt) plot with a 3 storied (G+2) 2,350 SqFt building on it in 2018. It is proposed to establish a full-fledged office cum dormitory complex in this building. It would function as the nerve centre for all SASS activities in the region. In order to complete the registration and legal formalities and to do interior outfitting, estimated budget is Rs 1.95 Crores (Rupees 19.5 Million).
- Vizhikkithodu ASK
It is about 6 km from Erumely. SASS owns a piece of land 42 cents (18,295 SqFt) at Koovappally Village, Kanjirappally Taluk, on Erumely – Ponkunnam road. SASS proposes to construct a G+2 building with a plinth area of 18,257 SqFt. It will have dormitory, rooms, dining hall, kitchen and resting area. Estimated budget is Rs 2.5 Crores (Rupees 25 Million).
- Nilackal ASK
Nilackal is 28 km from Erumely. It has become the hub of transport operations after the damage of parking area at Pampa in the 2018 flood. Travancore Devaswom Board has allocated a building to SASS to conduct Annadanam and other services. SASS intends to install a commercial scale kitchen and other facilities in this building. Estimated budget is Rs 40 lakhs (Rupees 4 Million).
- Naranamthodu ASK
Naranamthode is 9 km from Nilackal. SASS has finalised a piece of land measuring 43 Cents (18,730 SqFt) to be purchased. A double storied building, with an area of 6,000 SqFt is planned. It will have a commercial scale kitchen, dining hall and dormitories. Estimated budget is Rs 3.5 Crores (Rupees 35 Million).
- Koonamkara ASK
It is about 21 km from Erumely, 35 km from Pampa. Sabri Saranashramam Trust, an associate organisation owns a piece of land 18 acres here. The trust has constructed a two storied building which also houses a school primarily for tribal children. The Annadanam and other services are being provided at this ASK. It is proposed to establish a commercial scale kitchen and dining facilities. Estimated budget is Rs 25 lakhs (Rupees 2.5 Million)
- Pampa ASK
Travancore Devaswom Board has allocated a building to SASS to conduct Annadanam and other services. SASS intends to install a commercial scale kitchen and other facilities in this building. Estimated budget is Rs 35 lakhs (Rupees 3.5 Million).
- Sannidhanam ASK
We had been providing only medicated drinking water and stretcher service at this ASK. However, in 2019, Travancore Devaswom Board allowed SASS to conduct Annadanam at this ASK as directed by the Kerala High Court. Since 2020 was declared a Zero Pilgrimage Year, SASS did not conduct Annadanam at this centre. It is proposed to establish a commercial scale kitchen and dining facilities at this ASK. Estimated budget is Rs 35 lakhs (Rupees 3.5 Million).
- Kalaketty ASK
It is about 17 km from Erumely in the traditional trekking route which is mainly used by devotees during Makara Vilakku season only. A medical care centre has been functioning here since……. SASS has a 6 cents (2,614 SqFt) land with a small building. We plan to construct a double storied building with an area of 4,160 SqFt suitable for providing outpatient care and purchase basic medical equipment. It will be beneficial to devotees during the Makara Vilakku season and to the native tribals throughout the year. Estimated budget is Rs. 67 lakh (Rupees 6.7 Million).
ASKs at the above locations in and around Sabarimala Temple precincts have been providing Annadanam to about 55 to 60,000 pilgrims daily during the 60 days pilgrimage season every year. It costs about Rs 4 lakh per day. i.e., Rs 2.4 Crores for a year. It is met from voluntary contributions made by Ayyappa Sevaks, devotees, well-wishers and philanthropists, both in cash and kind.
AYYAPPA SEVA KENDRAM AT BORDERS & EDATHAVALAMS
SASS intends to build 5 permanent Ayyappa Seva Kendras (ASK) at the main entry points to Kerala State from the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. These locations are: Gundalpet and Wayanad on Karnataka boder and Theni, Walayar and Shenkottai on Tamil Nadu border.
In addition to these, 5 ASKs at Edathavalams (major locations where Sabarimala pilgrims congregate enroute) have been planned. These locations are: Guruvayur, Kalady, Chengannur, Pandalam and Erumely. The one at Erumely is in addition to the existing ASK-cum-Office Complex.
The above 10 ASKs will be provided with facilities like commercial scale kitchen, dining hall, toilets and bath rooms with running water, dormitories, mini theatre, book stall and medical centre. Land of about 40 to 50 cents will have to be purchased, building of about 30,000 SqFt will have to be constructed and facilities to be established at each ASK.
Summary of Estimate for 8 ASKs at Sabarimala Precincts
Budget in Rs Crores
|Erumely ASK cum Office Complex||
Summary of Estimate for 10 ASKs at Borders / Edathavalams
Budget in Rs Crores
|Cost of land @Rs 5 lakhs per cent x 50 cents||
|Cost of building @Rs 1,500/- per SqFt x 30,000 SqFt (G+2)||
|Cost of furniture, fixtures, kitchen equipment etc.||
|Fixed deposit for operating expenses||
|Total for one ASK:||
|Total for 10 ASKs||
GRAND TOTAL = Rs 110 Crores
Fund Mobilisation Plan
Rs in Crores
|Donation from 1,50,000 Ayyappa Sevaks @ Rs 1,000/- each||
|Donation from Well Wishers, Philanthropists||
|Donation from Corporates under CSR||
SASS Account Details
|NAME||SABARIMALA AYYAPPA SEVA SAMAJAM|
|BRANCH||PUSHPAGIRI BRANCH, THRISSUR, KERALA|
|ACCOUNT NUMBER- SB||000400100150322|
In the name of Lord Ayyappa, Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam (SASS) earnestly appeals to all Ayyappa devotees, Sanatanis, Well Wishers and Philanthropists to kindly come forward and contribute wholeheartedly and generously for this noble cause and receive the blessings of Lord Ayyappa.
All donations to SASS are eligible for Income Tax exemption under Sec 80G in India.
Ever in the service of Lord Ayyappa,
TB Shekhar Erode N Rajan S Vinodkumar
Chairman General Secretary Treasurer